Red State, Blue State, Democrats, Republicans, anti-tax advocates, public unions, public sector, private sector, federal, state and local and even in Europe. Retirement and old age benefits are promises about the far off future, allowing any and all to use them as a tool to rip people off and make a getaway before the heist is discovered. At the state and local government level, all over the U.S., one finds the generations now retired or about to retire promised themselves far more than they had been willing to pay for, leading to crises of various kinds. But always there is the assumption that the older generations that created the problem and benefitted from it can’t participate in sacrifices needed to prevent disaster.
The first response is always the union-friendly choice to drastically cut the pay and benefits of new hires, in order to offset the soaring cost of benefits for those cashing in and moving out. Screwing the millennials as part of the “screw the newbie, flee to Florida” cycle that goes on and on. “If you don’t like it, don’t take the job; take some other job that also pays 25 percent less than the Baby Boomers were paid for the same work,” as Federal Reserve Bank of New York research has shown.
But when that isn’t enough, the next proposal is a “pension freeze.” Middle-aged workers, now mostly the last of the Boomers in those in Generation X, get to keep the pension benefits they have earned so far, but are not allowed to accrue any new benefits at the rate they were promised. They are allowed to contribute to a 401K instead. “If you don’t like it, quit and take another job for 15 or 20 percent less than most Boomers and members of the Silent Generation were paid, if someone will hire you.”
That’s fair, isn’t it? No it is not!